Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board

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Modernization of the Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act

Policy issues

Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) has identified the following policy issues which we are seeking input on. We are also interested in any other issues that you have an interest in. Related documents will be posted to our website as they become available.

Worker compensation issues

The Government of Yukon is proposing to clarify some of the provisions concerning what a worker or a dependant of a deceased worker is entitled to following a work related injury.

Specific areas we are looking to address include the following:

  • increasing workers’ control over how annuities are paid out;
  • the definition of permanent impairment and how this benefit is paid out;
  • ensuring fairness in how earnings loss benefits for low income earners are calculated;
  • ways to simplify how funeral benefits are paid following a work-related death; and
  • ways to encourage worker participation in third party actions.

Occupational health and safety issues

Modernizing occupational health and safety provisions is crucial to the Government of Yukon’s commitment to enhance workplace safety. We propose to update areas of the legislation aimed at injury prevention and reporting.

Specific issues we are planning to address include:

  • clarifying when reporting of a serious incident or injury is required;
  • clarifying how a worker exercises their right to refuse unsafe work;
  • changes to modernize and improve how complaints of reprisal are processed;
  • clarify the minimum requirements for safety management systems for employers;
  • clarifying the role and duties and training requirements for safety representatives and members of joint health and safety committees;
  • improving the consistency in the legislation regarding duties of all workplace parties (employers, workers etc.), including overlapping and shared duties; and
  • clarify the requirement to protect all persons, such as the public, who may be affected by the hazards of the workplace.

Employer assessment issues

The Government of Yukon proposes to update some assessment provisions.

Specific issues we are looking to address include the following:

  • when those engaged in domestic service (e.g., house cleaners, personal attendants for the infirm) should be considered workers under the Workers' Compensation Act;
  • clarifying coverage limits when employers send workers outside the Yukon for work;
  • changes to ensure fairness of earnings loss benefits for those who purchase optional coverage; and
  • how can YWCHSB ensure that employers are not bearing the costs of other employers who default on the payment of their assessment premiums.

Mental health issues

Eligibility for compensation benefits is dependent on one simple question: did the injury arise out of and in the course of employment? This determination is generally straight forward when adjudicating physical injuries. Determining work-relatedness of psychological conditions, however, is often challenging. 

Areas we are looking to address include:

  • the challenges in determining if a psychological condition is an injury under the Workers' Compensation Act; and
  • ways of improving legislation to enhance fairness and reduce stigma of psychological conditions and injury.

Appeals issues

The Government of Yukon is proposing to remodel the appeals framework to make it more efficient for workers and employers. Currently, there are different appeal processes for injured workers’ claims, occupational health and safety matters and employers’ assessments matters.

Specific areas we are looking to address include the following:

  • ways to create a common streamlined process for internal reconsiderations and appeals for claims, assessments, administrative penalties and other occupational health and safety matters;
  • updates to appeal timeframes that promote return-to-work, access to appropriate medical care and fairness; and
  • updates to enhance independence, impartiality and fairness of the appeal process.

Compliance and enforcement issues

The Government of Yukon is proposing to simplify compliance and enforcement provisions under the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Specifically, the following will be discussed:

  • ensuring the administrative penalties issued by YWCHSB and fines issued by the court are effective in deterring non-compliant work practices;
  • providing additional powers to courts to make alternative orders that enhance safety and prevention of injuries; and
  • limitation periods for administrative penalties and prosecutions that enhance fairness and allow adequate time for investigations.